Perhaps we just weren’t paying attention, but music-spun social network Myspace might be making a sneaky comeback. Maybe because they’re keeping certain things exclusive- such as their newly relaunched ‘secret shows’, the latest of which featured a performance by rock band Spoon. What exactly does a secret show entail? As Harley Brown from Billboard puts it, “heavy red curtains, smoke machines, cryptic answers to basic questions, low ceilings and no windows.” The first set of secret shows began in 2006 with an private performance by Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kelly at the Hotel Cafe in Hollywood. For about 6 years, Myspace hosted free concerts and alerted select users (usually on 2 or 3 days before the show) via blog posts and bulletins. Past concerts featured intimate performances by a wide range of artists, from Lil Wayne to The Cure. In 2012, the secret shows were discontinued, only to be relaunched 2 years later with Spoon’s performance on August 3rd.
Ron Neilson, GM at Myspace told Billboard, “If you look at where success has been and where we can get back to the community on our site, and do things that are really cool and unique, experiential types of events, these [shows] are no-brainers.”
Surprisingly enough, the creative team behind interactive theatre show Sleep No More organized Spoon’s secret show. The process began with an e-mailed old-timey telegram (pictured below) calling select fans to the McKittrick Hotel in New York.
Photo courtesy of stereogum.com
Kelly Conabay depicts the experience: “Last night, for the first show in the return of Myspace’s Secret Show series, a woman in an old-timey dress took Spoon fans, a bunch of bloggers, and several Myspace employees on a creepy, dark elevator ride to an incredible Spoon show.” Cryptic answers likely made the event confusing for unfamiliar fans: “a Spoon fan asked a man in a Myspace t-shirt, ‘Where are we supposed to stand?’ and received the telling response of ‘I don’t know.’ Hmm.” Another attendee says: “When figures in velvet robes with thick hoods squeezed through the swell, surrounding a ’60s-styled singer who had opened the show with an a cappella rendition of They Want My Soul’s ‘I Just Don’t Understand,’ my friend turned heel and walked straight out of the venue.”
Spoon got on stage 45 minutes late. Despite the theatrical build-up, it seems like fans weren’t disappointed by their performance. The band played a relaxed single, “Inside Out”, from the new album along with old hits like “I Turn My Camera On,” “You Got Yr Cherry Bomb,” and “The Beast and Dragon, Adored.” There were plenty of technical difficulties during the show, but overall, fans appeared to be pleased by the intimacy and rock and roll vibes during Spoon’s performance.
The idea of an intimate performance at a ‘secret’ show is admittedly pretty cool. Who wouldn’t feel special being invited to an exclusive concert? If FDRMX could offer Myspace one piece of advice for their newly relaunched secret shows: make it about the music, and not the theatrics. There’s a distinct line between overly-contrived dinner-theatre and exclusive, intimate concert. Since Myspace has reinvented itself as a music-centered social network, it should cater to musicians and their fans, and not allow hype to overtake the actual show.